Yuriy Dyachyshyn Agence France-Presse ”Des corps continuaient d’être sortis des décombres samedi en Ukraine, où les attaques meurtrières s’étaient faites plus rares ces derniers mois.
Ukraine continued to count its dead on Saturday after intense strikes by Russia the day before on several of its cities, including the capital Kiev, which killed 39 people and injured dozens of others, according to authorities.
The wave of attacks, one of the most violent since the start of the war almost two years ago, targeted buildings, a maternity ward and a shopping center but also industrial and military infrastructure .
“At present, there are unfortunately 39 dead” across the country, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky announced on Saturday, adding that around a hundred people had been injured.< /p>
“Nearly 120 towns and villages have been affected,” he said, adding that search operations were continuing.
In kyiv alone, at least 16 people were killed on Friday, according to the local administration.
Bodies continued to be pulled out of the rubble on Saturday in this city, where deadly attacks had become rarer in recent months.
This attack was “the largest in terms of civilian casualties,” said Kiev Mayor Vitali Klitschko on Saturday, who declared a “day of mourning” for January 1.< /p>
Air Force spokesman Yuri Ignat called it “the most massive missile attack” of the conflict, excluding the first days of war.
According to the general staff, Moscow fired nearly 160 devices, including cruise missiles and Shahed explosive drones.
At least 14 dead in Russia
Russian authorities, for their part, accused the Ukrainian army on Saturday of strikes that left at least 14 people dead in border regions, including two children, and 108 injured on Saturday in Belgorod.
“According to the latest information, 12 adults and two children died in Belgorod,” the Russian Emergency Situations Ministry said on Telegram, adding that “108 people, including fifteen children, were been injured.”
Images posted online show cars on fire, buildings with broken windows, and columns of black smoke rising on the horizon.
In the Bryansk region, also bordering Ukraine, the villages of Kister and Borchevo were bombed, which caused the death of “a child born in 2014”, according to the governor Alexandre Bogomaz.
Ukraine regularly carries out strikes in Russia, particularly in the regions closest to its territory.
Poland, a NATO member country, denounced on Friday a “violation” of its airspace “by a cruise missile”, calling on Russia to “immediately cease this type of operation”.
In November 2022, a Ukrainian missile fell on the Polish village of Przewodow, near Ukraine, killing two civilians and briefly sparking fears of an extension of the conflict.
Call to Congress
Friday's Russian strikes drew strong international condemnation, with the UN secretary-general speaking out against “appalling attacks.”
These attacks end a difficult year for Ukraine, marked by the failure of its summer counter-offensive and a revival of Moscow's forces, which this week claimed the capture of the town of Marinka on the eastern front.
News all the more worrying for kyiv as Western aid is starting to run out of steam, in Europe as in the United States, raising the risk of a drying up of the flow of munitions and funds .
On Saturday, Volodymyr Zelensky launched a new appeal to his allies, assuring that arming Ukraine is “a way to protect lives”.
“Every manifestation of Russian terror proves that we cannot wait to provide assistance to those who are fighting,” he pleaded.
Words that echo those of his American counterpart Joe Biden, who called on his country's elected officials to “act without further delay” to help Kiev.
Washington has just released a new tranche of $250 million, the last without a new vote in Congress, which for the moment refuses to allocate more aid.
Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban vetoed a new EU aid package, a problem that Europeans hope to resolve at a summit in early February 2024.
Russia, for its part, said on Friday that it had targeted military infrastructure, ammunition depots and places of deployment of military assets in more than 50 strikes, including a “major” one between December 23 and 29. Ukrainian soldiers.